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I guess some of you have seen my previous blog on Hennessy X.O appreciation grows in Penang happening last year happen on May 2011 at Suffolk House Penang (click here for previous write up). Early this month, we were the lucky few bloggers to be selected to follow the young Chef Michael Han to Penang for food trail.

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We were all just excited about the food trail as on the plane, some of them were saying, I want Chendol, Laksa, and . . . . those food names just got blurt out by many of them.

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We purposely did not take any breakfast as we prepare to follow suit food hunting with the chef.

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and I could not even remember when was the last time, that I did follow a tour or onboard a bus with a tour guide. It makes me felt that I am like a tourist, with the guide explaning and telling us the history of Penang. Learn quite a lot of new stuff on the way. As we look on our itinerary, I am happy all those food area are my favorite locations.

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First stop of food trail at 10am, we stop by at Penang road, at Joo Hooi Cafe for Asam Laksa.

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this laksa stall was chosen as it is around 40 years old, starting from parents then now the son is taking over. Penang Laksa well known to many tourist that its a food that must not miss if you set into Penang, that is also voted as one of the best street food  listed at number 7 on World’s 50 most delicious foods complied by CNN Go in 2011.

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All of us getting ready as our arrival create a huge curiosity to many customers inside the coffee shop. Most of them stare and commented, and then stare again as we came in a huge group with cameras, including Penang reporters and cameraman.

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Asam Laksa is know along with its sourish fish base soup that Asam is the malay word for tamarind that use to give the stock its sour flavor.

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One of the main ingredient that is used  is made with ikan kembung know as mackeral fish. Penang Laksa is different in flavour as it  include lemongrass, galangal and chilli. For garnishing on top, serve along with mint, pineapples slices, thinly sliced onion, shirmp paste, and torch ginger flower.

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Then it is serve along smooth texture of rice vermicelli

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Chef Michael is definately not a stranger in this local scene street food as he grown up with a nanny that is from Penang. Chef enjoying his bowl of laksa. . .

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So does me. 🙂

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Then after the meal, he went over to learn Penang Style laksa preparation by the stall owner, as checking out the broth and he is impress on the process as this laksa stall prepare by going through 2 types of soup.

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Early in the morning, we were already yam seng all the way with Hennessy X.O and the uncle is so joyful

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Uncle were so happy as get to know that a famous young chef dropping by his stall. Very nice and talkertive too.

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As before we head out, we were adventurous trying to think what the chef have in mind, then we pair X.O into our laksa. Turn out to be, not bad. If it were cook into it, I think would taste more kick eh!

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Next stop, New World Park, Lee Brothers famous Ice Kacang.

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Along with Pai Tee also known as Top Hat.

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Anna with her weird expressions!

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chef is enjoying both Ice Kacang and Pai tee

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Pai Tee, outer layer of pai tee is cripsy, then filled with chinese turnip and topped with fried shallots, diced carrots, fried egg and peanuts. For me I always eat it in one big mouth. 😀

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Ice Kacang

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3rd stop is one of my all time favourite Nasi Kandar, never fail to come here whenever I am back Penang but this would be the first time I dine here in the afternoon. This place need not any further introduction as now it is pretty well know to many locals and even tourist.

Many people would have hard time finding this place as it is actually hidden one of a small alley that tuck in between these 2 pre-war house.

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Usually in the afternoon the crowd here is crazy and gets even worst if its a long weekend with tourist pouring in. . .as I only often come here for supper. . 😀

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I just realise that many family crowd did order their Curry fish head and the fish head is seriously huge!

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This round this is what we have for lunch . .

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Beef Curry

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Bean Sprout

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Fish

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Fried chicken is a must have!

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And I prefer my version of nasi kandar is with kuah banjir (lots of curry gravy)

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Wilson enjoying his meal as turn our to be one of his favourite spot too.

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This is what happen if you come after 12pm during long weekend. You can see its line grow and make a long L shape after that. One of the reason people love this stall because of its spicy curry gravy and the spices that they cook along.

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4th stop is at Kafe Khoon Hiang at Dato Keramat for Ah Leng Char Koey Teow. Apparently, there are places which is available that, in the afternoon in this coffee shop, is the son that fried it and during night, is his dad that are frying at Jalan Zoo, Ayer Itam area. I have heard so much about Ah Leng CKT and never once drop by and here am I to get the opportunity to try one of the stall.

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Look at the huge prawn that were added in

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One thing I notice on the frying style is that he added in ‘ti chio’ (sweet Sauce) and this is the first time I come across Char Koey Teow added that in.

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Then chef were thought to fry on Ah Leng Char Koey Teow version.

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Guess who is next tyring to cook. Anna. Wonder who will eat her cooking version.

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Tadaaa, here is the Char Koey Teow with the texture and colour of it, definately looks good!

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As the char Koey teow were fried up and serve, most of them cant wait to get a bite of it as it smells fragrant and top with juicy prawns.

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Before that, cheers again as we were drinking as early as 10am from the first stop, and of course we have to skip at Nasi Kandar area.

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Ah Leng Char Koey Teow cook along with prawn mantis too.  Best of all, it did not stop there as we went adventurous again we we infuse the CKT along with Hennessy X.O and it turns out to be superbly good. More fragrant and stronger in taste. After our own mixture, the CKT were gone in seconds. As another plate was serve, we did the same thing again and other food bloggers just came and attack.

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Chef enjoying this CKT a whole plate by himself.

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Final stop would be at Kedai Kopi Seng Thor that is famous for its fried oyster. This is one of the shop that I grew up along to dine there most of the time when I was a kid as this fried oyster is stall is my grandmother’s favourite stall. We called it ‘O-chein’. She would eat at least 3-4 times aweek or would follow my grandpa to sit in the coffee shop while he is reading his newspaper.

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Seng Thor Fried Oyster Ommelete is one of the stalls that you must try if you love this dish. Just that you must have the patience to wait, as it can easily take up your waiting time from 30 mins to an hour.

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First he will put his own mixture of ingredient with a thin layer at the bottom to cook along then top with 2 eggs. Then he will repeat this process couple of times and chef is amaze of the version of Fried Oyster Ommelet in Penang as they have never seen this version of cooking which is totally different from the ones they had in Singapore.

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As when Chef Michael saw how he pour the whole pot of oil to cook along, he was stun for a while and imagine how greasy the food will be.

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After the base is cook, he will separate it at the side and cook another layer.

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this is how it is while cooking along that soak into near full pot of oil

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With huge fire frying along like that, I just cant wait to have a big bite on this fried oyster.

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While waiting for our lovely fried oyster, I get a chance to take picture with the chef himself and understand further on how he actually end up being a chef.

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Upon request need to take a weird picture, so this is how it end up . .hehe

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Jeng Jeng Jeng, after 35 minutes of waiting, here is our plate of oyster that its sprinkle along with lots of mini oyster. It cook with alot of oil yet it does not taste greasy as it is.

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And this plate turns out to be one of Chef Micheal’s favorite. To make it even more flavourful, must not miss to dip along with chili sauce.

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And we try again to infuse with Hennessy X.O. Turns out to be CKT still the winner among all. I guess if the oyster were soak into Hennessy and cook then, it would taste awesome (in my own imagination)

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Then we head back to hotel for a short break then head for an interview session with him. During the interview session, one good thing to know that he have high expectation for Penang food as he grown up to have one of the best food from his Nanny.

chef mention that Penang food would pair very well with Hennessy X.O as the food in the island is robust in taste. Then further understand him that he is actually from Law background that did not practise law but his instead pursued his dreams to become a chefs. Then by following his passion he kick off his career in a fine dining restaurant Au Jardin before moving on to stints at The Fat Duck, L’Enclume and Anthony’s in England, Mugaritz in San Sebastian, Spain and Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark.

With his hard work and dedication to excellence that had made him being nominated for the World Gourmet Summit Awards of Excellence ‘Rising Chef of the Year’ in 2010 and 2011, with FiftyThree,  his restaurant that opens its door at year 2009 and nominated as ‘Best Restaurant’ in 2011. Notably, FiftyThree was featured as one of World’s 50 Best Restaurants ‘Regional Spotlight –Singapore’, and on CNNgo.com’s Best Eats 2010 as Singapore’s Best Gourmet Restaurant of 2010. The awards doesnt stop there as FiftyThree also won the World Gourmet Summit Awards of Excellence ‘Restaurant of the Year’ in 2012, with Michael garnering the title of ‘Rising Chef of the Year’.

Here are the interview video capture by Wilson. Thanks you~

Pictures credit to Wilson (bloggers whom attend along are, Anna, Cheng Yi, Me, Wilson and Sidney) along with Chef Michael and Karen

However, after this preview of food trail, I am very curious what Chef Michael will prepare for us at next session in Penang within the chapel of St. Joseph’s Novitiate from September 26th to 28th 2012. His cooking style or background are more European cooking which using less oil and fresh ingredients. I just cant wait what is the dish that he is going to come out with this challenge that being put upfront, that by deconstructing Penang local delicacies to make a fine dine. Looking forward for end of this month for the special dining.

and wheee. . got feature in The Star, Metro north section

I again felt honor that I was selected to attend one of the most prestigious event by Hennessy that will took place in Penang for year 2012. I was already speechless when I received invites for the last Hennessy X.O appreciation Grows that took place at Hotel Equatorial last May 2012 . Indeed it was one of the best dinner experience I have attended so far, by getting a chance to dine Hennessy X.O pairing with Chef Edward Lee master piece which is a winner from Iron Chef. On that event itself, I was amazed on the whole event flow, on food presentation, live chef video  preparing the meals and of course how to enjoy Hennessy X.O with food.

I am looking forward for month of September that I get to kill two birds with one stone by attending, upcoming Hennessy Artistry then followed by Hennessy X.O appreciation Grows happening in Penang and I am proud that they are going to my hometown for this event.

Lets take a ride back on happenings last year.

Hennessy X.O Penang dinner which was held in May 2011 at Suffolk House Penang that converting the whole place into a dimention for fine dine. It is one of a exclusive event that guest are attending in Black Tie dress code.

With appreciation comes true knowledge; quality cues are discovered and connoisseurs created. This is true of luxury products, including cognac and Hennessy X.O. On Last year’s gastronomic event, the meals are well presented and Chef Cheong Liew was the master creation behind the scene .

Till date, how I remember Hennessy X.O this word was my grandfather’s favorite drink that he used to place his favourite collection on his alcohol shelf and loves to keep it for a few years before drink it. During special occasions he will always bring along a bottle to celebrate.

Well, I guess this whole brand starting point for true originality is as far as 1870, when Maurice Hennessy created Hennessy X.O, the first in the category of X.O cognacs. Elegant and complex, Hennessy X.O is the result of the blending of one hundred eaux-de-vie with an eXtra Old character, laying the foundation for a rich heritage from which Hennessy X.O continually innovates to be at the forefront of modernity.

Guess who will be the master chef line up for Penang Gastronomy for Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows Penang 2012. Will be this new kid on the block that have tough love qualities along with the commitment, passion, and above all, dedication to excellence that had made him being nominated for the World Gourmet Summit Awards of Excellence ‘Rising Chef of the Year’ in 2010 and 2011, with FiftyThree,  his restaurant that opens its door at year 2009 and nominated as ‘Best Restaurant’ in 2011. Notably, FiftyThree was featured as one of World’s 50 Best Restaurants ‘Regional Spotlight –Singapore’, and on CNNgo.com’s Best Eats 2010 asSingapore’s Best Gourmet Restaurant of 2010 – Singaporean Chef Micheal Han

Not only that, Michael is no stranger to Penang culture and cuisine, having grown up with a nanny fromPenangand “a steady diet of Penang Laksa”, these influences can be found in his cooking today. Michael’s upcoming menu at Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows 2012 in Penang is highly anticipated as he will be utilizing local Penang favorites, we will be following him for a Pre-Event Food Trail by  deconstructing them in a modern way while maintaining the essence of what is already familiar. Here is what we gonna enjoy in Penang this weekend similar to what Chef Edward Lee and Will Quah had done to Petaling Street as video below:

I am looking forward for this food trail along with this young Chef Micheal Han by learning along with his experience. He kick off his career in a fine dining restaurant Au Jardin before moving on to stints at The Fat Duck, L’Enclume and Anthony’s in England, Mugaritz in San Sebastian, Spain and Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark.

After this food trail, he will then present his master creation from September 26th to 28th 2012. The event will be held in Penang within the chapel of St. Joseph’s Novitiate Flanked by Gurney Drive and Kelawai Road, the historic building was built in 1925 as quarters for novices for St. Joseph’s Training College. To many Penangnites, Gurney Paragon is no stranger to us for its new location of dining that keep that building restored and updated in with its contemporary surroundings, it is a physical embodiment of the values that encompass Hennessy X.O.

Healthy leaving had been consider one of the essential method to take care of your health by doing exercise, maintaining healthy diets, and many more but as in food, organic food had also become one of the essential ingredient in cooking method to get the best out of it. Senses Organic food which also mean that, all ingredient that are use, are without using any synthetic chemicals on the food supply.

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It was not until recently, on my very first fine dining at Senses in KL Hilton to had my first hand experience on food that was cook organically. With the nice and warm interior, any customer that walk into this place would sure had a pleasent dining environment with its friendly staff.

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Then while we were seated, we were firstly served with 2 home made in house buns.

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While I look through at the menu, I was very impress on how he come with to prepare all such a great dish.

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And then greeted by the mastermind behind the whole cooking idea, ingredient selection, by using very seasonal food to create such a menu which is Chef Michael Elfwing, a person who is very friendly yet funny which trying to make sure we are enjoying all his creation.

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This are all the organic ingredient used by him.

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First meal of the night which is ‘Alaskan King Crab’ (Salad of Heirloom Tomato, chilled Japanese somen Noodle & French Dressing) I just love the alaskan king crab with is tenderness of the solid meat and eat along with the cold soba create another level of taste.

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‘Jurusalem Artichoke & Scallop Soup’ (Australian Organic Jurusalem artichokes with seared HArvey Bay Scallops and Vanilla oil) with not a very strong vanila aroma yet blend in very well with the taste of the soup base that is not too thick but one of the best I have eaten so far.

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‘Saltwater Barramundi’ (seared barramundi on puree of spring onion & potato, grilled new onions, cockles in cream sauce) which is soft fish meat that had ben grilled to perfection yet the aroma of it us simple and nice.

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The cockles behind it, it was not overcook yet it was not weird to cook in cream sauce.

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‘Quail Butternut Tart’ taste like quich that I have eaten when I was working in a cafe in MElbourne. Still meat the taste of it as it taste similar.

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Free Range Organic jumbo quail stuff with foie gras and our home made Wahyu bacon, served with a savory tart of butternut custard, caramelized onion & champigions. One of the best quail I have eaten so far, very aromatic yet fried to perfection as when eat it, mouth will be burst with aroma of bacon, butternut custard all will just burst the aroma in the mouth.

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‘The tomahok’ was one of the dish higly recommeded by the friend there, as it was grilled to perfection to maintain its juicy yet soft tender meat.

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‘Organic kipfler potato puree, Australian green beans & baby fennel then you take the slices and place it on my place and slowly decorate it like that and its waiting to be eaten. I just love how my meat to be done, medium rare.

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‘Australian Berries’ (light vanila custard, sable biscuits, fresh australia berries & red current banana sorbet)

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‘Senses Black Forest’

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‘Rhubarb and Ginger’ (summer rhubarb cook with vanilla & blackpepper, Breton sable tartlet, ginger ice cream ) which is the most unique taste of all cuz I have never try a desert with ginger.

It was a good experience and we were hosted by such a wonderfull girls that shower us with so much information and also warm hospitality, so do the chef.

This special menu is only availble in the month of March.

Location:
KL Hilton,
KL Central

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